The game will progress by Ganz visiting you in your room. Just watch a series of cut scenes and save if you ever see a small blue flag. (This is another good general rule to follow.) The first fight with Jarvis will be very easy (he only has a small percentage of his HP). The fight with Gerald you can't win, so don't worry.
After another series of cut scenes, you will end back at Theater Vancoor and get assigned to a squad led by (you guessed it?) Jarvis. You will then have to beat Daniel. He isn't very strong, and his HP is only around 300, so you shouldn't have any trouble, assuming you did at least some leveling up.
Friends List Created
The beginning of the recruitment period starts when Clive shows up and writes his name on your Friends List. You can then recruit a number of humans in Radiata City, as well as farmers and some non-humans (e.g., dark elves). The complete list of characters you can recruit at this time are listed below. The earlier you recruit a character and put them in your party, the higher level they will be later in the game. For example, when you first recruit Aidan, he isn't very useful, but as he gains levels, he becomes a decent mage.
You can't start recruiting characters until Clive turns up and writes his name in your Friends List. Clive is recruited automatically, and signals the start of the recruitment process. Work on getting your starting party first. Once you are happy with your party, you can work on recruiting the other characters. Most of the characters in this group can be recruited at any time, even towards the end of the game, so it isn't imperative that you recruit them now, but it is best to get them out of the way before you forget about them.
Once Clive has joined, you can continue to recruit people for about a day and a half, at which time you will be automatically sucked into the Crocogator mission. However, once you start on that mission, you can still take some time to recruit people, and wander around and level up. You will only have Jack and Jarvis in your party, however.
You won't be able to use any of the people you recruit until you get some solo jobs, which will be after you return from the Crocogator mission.
You might want to start out by buying better armor and weapons, buy and read some books so you can give commands to your party, and probably some cure items. The Dead End Armory in the Void Community has the Wind Garb, which is the best armor. Buy that and the best weapon you can afford. I find the lance to be very good when fighting monsters, since you can use a wide sweep and hit multiple enemies with one swing. For boss fights, I tend to use the sword, but you might want to experiment with other weapons to see which ones best fit your fighting style.
When choosing weapons, don't concentrate strictly on the attack value, but look at the side effects as well. A weapon that causes some status affliction can, in the long run, do more damage that a weapon that has a higher attack value but no side effect. This is especially true for afflictions such as petrify, which takes the enemy completely out of the battle for a while as you continue to hit them, and poison, which will continue to drain HP from the enemy. In fact, once you have poisoned an enemy, you might want to go and attack a different one, and let that one die a slow death.
Another factor to weapons is the types of attacks that you use. Some attacks will affect all enemies within a certain area. This makes it easy to get rid of a bunch of enemies in short time. You can switch weapons and/or attacks several times in the middle of a battle, so if one approach isn't working, try either a different set of attacks, or a different weapon. For example, you can start with a lance and wide swing (like wild spin) at the beginning of a battle. Then, once you have a single strong enemy left, you can switch to more powerful attacks, or knockdown type attacks.
At some point in the game, you will have to decide on the human or non-human path. Once this choice is made, no characters in the other group can be recruited, and none of the other type that you previously recruited will be available. Remember this before you spend a lot of time to build up a character that you will later lose.
Once the game is over, there is a bonus dungeon where you can recruit an additional character. She will only be available during post-game events, but you can learn a great skill by recruiting her.
Even though a character may become unavailable later in the game, there are still times when you might want to recruit them. This is especially true the first time you play the game and are trying to learn skills. For example, Donkey is the only character available at the start of the game that has the "Absorb HP" skill. This is a very useful skill to have, so you should think about recruiting him and using him long enough to learn that skill.
While you are recruiting people, you will be required to go on a few missions with your squad. Normally, you will have some time between missions when you can recruit characters, but you can often do some recruiting while you are on the mission as well. For example, during the Crocogator Mission, you will be able to travel anywhere and recruit characters before you encounter a Crocogator. If you get into any fights, you will only have yourself and Jarvis in your party, so if you didn't level up Jack earlier in the game, you might want to put off any of the more difficult areas.
Here are the squad missions you will take part in:
- Crocogator Mission
- This is the first mission, and will start automatically at some point. No matter where you are and what you are doing, Jack will say something about checking out Theater Vancoor and you be taken back to there.
- You will only have yourself and Jarvis for this mission. Daniel refuses to go.
- Like most missions, you will be told where to go and what to do. You can usually talk to Thanos and get some hints as well. If you are inside the city and use the map, it will show you which gate you want to use. Once in the world, use the map to see the actual destination.
- Just go where the map tells you and do what Jarvis says, and you should do fine. Your reward will be either 100 or 10,000 dagols. The amount you get is random, but the low pay is much more common.
- Once you have completed this mission, you should go to Morfin's Clinic and talk to the sick kid. Keep this up if you want to recruit everyone from the Olacion Order.
- Once you are done with this mission, you can work on solo missions with your party. Check with Thanos each time to see what is available. Just remember to not sleep at Jack's house until there are no more missions available, or you might miss some.
- Even if you are going to take the non-human path, these missions are a good way to get experience and money. You can have all non-humans in your party, which means you can be building up your party before the split.
Recruitment: Initial Friends List
Once your friends list has been created, you can start recruiting characters. For more information on what characters to recruit and how to recruit them, see Recruitment: Initial Friends List
Once you get back from the Crocogator mission, you will have some free time on your hands. At various points during these missions, you will see some cut scenes about Ganz. During this time, Flau and Rynka may not be keeping their normal schedule, since they are part of the cut scenes.
You can take any (or all) of three missions:
- Pick Up Weapons from Earth Valley
- This is very simple and straight forward. Just talk to the owner of the weapons shop just across from the front door of Vancoor Theater.
- Talk to Gregory before you leave, and you can work on recruiting him at the same time.
- Collect Smilodon Fang
- Go to the Ocho Region, follow the path until you see a bone arch.
- Take that path and fight the tiger-like monster.
- Jack talks about coming back to make money. Don't bother, you can't sell them. (Actually, you won't get them.)
- This region is fairly tough, so if you haven't leveled up much, consider going to Septem Cave a couple of times first.
- Monsters at the Bridge
- You will battle a king snake and some trees. Take out the trees first, and then the snake.
- You must accept this mission to recruit Elef, Hip, and Ryan, who are non-guild humans.
You probably want to do them in the above order, since the first doesn't involve any fighting, and the third is probably harder than the second. Avoid going to your house during the day to prevent the game from progressing before you are ready. Enter your house after 9pm and leave before 8am to save your game. Remember not to sleep until you are ready.
If you go to the top floor of the Morfin Clinic, you will see a sick kid on a bed. Talk to him, and he asks you to come back again and tell him stories. The stories he wants to hear are the Crocogator mission, the Smilodon Fang mission, and the Rats in the Vareth Institute mission (which won't happen for a bit.) These stories are a critical part of recruiting his sisters Adina and Elena, who are from the Olacion Order.
Recruitment: First Missions
Having gone on your own mission opens up a few more recruits, or at least you can start recruiting them. For details, see Recruitment: First Missions.
Once you are promoted, you will no longer be dragged into any missions with Jarvis and Daniel. This is much like the free-time missions your took earlier, but it opens up a number of new recruits, since you are more famous (and respected) now.
You should avoid Vancoor Square for a while, since that will trigger a new event. If you talk to Thanos, he will mention a strange man there, but ignore it for now. Also, stay away from your house during the day; don't enter until after 9pm, and don't sleep there. (The only reason you should ever sleep is when you want to force the game to progress.)
Recruitment: Jack's Promotion
For more details on who you can recruit at this time, see Recruitment: Jack's Promotion.
Large Man in Vancoor Square
When you want the game to progress, enter Vancoor Square, where you will find a large man wandering about. The game will walk you through most of this.
Once you have met this large man, you have a couple days before the next part of the game will kick in. You can postpone this by not going into your house during the day. Wait until at least 9pm before you enter the house, and you can postpone the game from progressing. You can use this trick to make sure you complete all the missions before the game moves on.
Be very careful about avoiding Jack's house during the day. If you mess up, you could lose the opportunity to recruit Gerald, which in turn means you won't be able to recruit Elwen and Nyx.
You will have these missions available:
- Visit the Bridge that was being built
- This isn't an official mission, but you should do this if you want to recruit the builders.
- They will ask you to fetch a copy of their blueprints. Their hotel is right behind the lottery in the Olacion Order section (across from the general store).
- Visit Club Vampire
- This is another "unofficial" mission, but you need to do it if you want to recruit Gerald.
- See the recruitment details for Gerald.
- Creature in the Sewer
- If you have been exploring the sewers, you have probably wondered what was the purpose of that large dead end area you get to from the right door near the fountain area. It is for a boss fight.
First go into cell 5 and go down the ladder. Go right into the first door. Continue left to the first door. Continue left to the spiral room. Take the far right door. Continue to an a split in the path. Continue to go right and you should find the boss. You get the Rune Saber, which is a decent sword with Petrify as a side effect.
This mission will allow you to recruit Tony.
- Goblin Graveyard
- The recruitment suit that you get at the end of this mission continually heals you, which is a nice feature. It is also essential for recruiting a few black goblins on the non-human path, so don't skip this mission. (The black goblin area isn't available except on the non-human path.)
- When you first get to the green goblin area, you will get an opportunity to recruit the Goblin Trio. When given the chance, decide to let them go.
- Before you go to the cemetery, I suggest you take the first left branch to reach the Travel Pig. This will let you return here easily. Also, just past this left turn on the main path you might see a yellow glow. If you do, stand near it and kick to fight the Dagol Turtle, who will give you a lot of money. It isn't there that often, but make a habit of looking for it each time you are there.
- Explore the various paths and look for treasures or use the map to go directly to the cemetery. When you get the rainbow crystal, don't sell it if you are taking the non-human path. You will need it to recruit Row. If you are taking the human path, then you can sell it.
- If you travel through the village and across the bridge towards fire mountain, you will be able to fight some flame lizards once. They won't appear on subsequent visits.
- Attack Golem
- The first of two fun fights with the latest "ultimate weapon". If you keep doing these challenges, you will get some nice armor, and be able to recruit Ursula.
- Monsters in the Dwarf Caves
- If you wondered what that large empty area at the end of the dwarf tunnels was for, it was for this boss fight.
Recruitment: Large Man in Vancoor Square
For details on who you can recruit at this time, and how to recruit them, see Recruitment: Large Man in Vancoor Square.